State of the Forests
The Congo Basin forests cover 200 million hectares in the heart of Africa. They support the
livelihoods of 60 million people, generate funds for States in the region through timber
exploitation, absorb huge amounts of carbon, comprise a unique biodiversity and regulate
the flow of the major rivers across Central Africa. Nevertheless many questions and
uncertainties persist on the services the forests provide, their spatial evolution, the
opportunities they represent and the threats they face.
To overcome the lack of reliable information, numerous stakeholders in the region and beyond,
from government departments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and the
scientific community, came together in 2005 to produce a first concise State of the Forest
report at the initiative of the US-funded CARPE program, and a more comprehensive edition in
2006, with support from the European Union, the United States, France and Germany.
In 2007, the European Union backed this process with the following main objectives: (i)
establish a system to monitor the natural and socio-economic environment of forest
ecosystems in Central Africa based on a series of indicators; (ii) coordinate the
publication every two years of a “Report on the State of the Forests”, and (iii) launch
the establishment of the Central African Forest Observatory (OFAC) for the benefit of
COMIFAC member countries.
This State of the Forest report, now produced every two years by the Central African
Forests Commission (COMIFAC) and the staheholders of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership,
has become the gold standard for those looking for a comprehensive and detailed assessment
of the status of the tropical forests of Central Africa.